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■Sir William Temple.
Johnson once said that lie had formed his style upon that of Sir W. Temple, and upon Chambers's Proposal for his Dictionary.
"And Sir W. Temple supposed he had formed la is upon Sandys's View of the State of Religion."—Choker's lioswell, vol. i. p. 196.
P. 453. Gifford supposed Crispinus to have been intended for Marston, whom (vol. i. p. 517) he very much disparages.
456. The alternate verses in which king Darius is ridiculed here, are not unlike some of Dryden's tragic snip-snap dialogues in tragedy.
490. A faun or fawne, I suppose, is synonimous with a fawner.
P. 54. "that for her own, great Caesar's, and the pubLie safety."
162. Ded. to the Fox. His notion of the good poet.
164. Abuses of the stage.
206-7. — " Came you forth Empty of rules for travel?
Per. Faith, I had
Some common ones, from out that vulgar grammar
Which he that cried Italian to me, taught me."
The commentators have not looked for that grammar and its rules.
391. Bride-ale, a note showing thatGifford did not know what the word means.
454. Going away in snuff (in anger) Gifford thinks alludes to the offensive manner in which a candle goes out. I rather think it refers to a sudden emotion of anger, seizing a man as snuff takes him by the nose.'
1 See the extract from Someeb' Trucl$, in Second Series, p. 654.—J. W. W.
Gifford could not have looked at Lady
Alchemist. Ep. to the Reader.
Dances and antic marring the drama at that time.
S. Evhemond, vol. 3, p. 207-8, praises Sejanus and Catiline, and condemns all other English tragedies. See the passage.
"It appears that he read Greek invariably, not by quantity, but accent." Vol. 5, p. 339, N. In the text that occasions this note, the line is,
"Old Master Gross surnam'd AytAaoroc,"
—which yet would read by quantity, if the true reading of the preceding word should be surnamed. But Gifford says it was his invariable rule.
His contempt of romances, with which he oddly classes Pantagruel. Vol. 5, p. 346; 8, p. 416-7.
The metre in his Ode to himself (vol. 5, p. 442), a ten-lined stanza, is sufficiently varied by the different length of the lines, though the rhymes are in couplets.
P. 417. Gifford assents to 0. Feltham's criticism,
"When was there ever laid Before a chambermaid Discourse so weighed, as might have served of old
For schools when they of love and valour told?"
Now though the discourse is very ill laid considering some of the company, the objection certainly does not hold good with regard to the Chambermaid, who is what Ben Jonson remembered female domestics to be, upon the same footing as pages in the family. The one in this play is the friend and companion of her mistress, and thought a fit wife for a nobleman at the end of the drama.
P. 2. The actors, when the Magnetic Lady was first represented, introduced so many oaths, that they were called before the High Commission Court, and severely censured. As the author was sick in bed, they boldly laid the fault on him. Jonson however completely justified himself from this atrocious charge, as did the Master of the Revels, on whom they had next the audacity to lay it: and the players then humbly confessed that they had themselves interpolated the offensive passages.
11. "I have heard the poet say that to be the most unlucky scene in a play which needs an interpreter." — Induction to the Magnetic Lady.
250. Gilford says he was a careful reader of the Polynlbion, and in the Sad Shepherd an occasional imitator.
•222. Inigo Jones satirized.
P. 19. Giffoed thinks Milton's Arcades "a very humble imitation of Ben Jonson's masques."
36-7. Dances described in the Masques. 39. 65. 108. 157. 324-5.
16. A double echo finely managed in a 6ong.
71). Masque scenery. 302. Splendour. 328.
"Sit now, propitious aids,
Masque of Hymen, 53.
77. Gilford calls " the attention of the reader to the richness, elegance, and matchless vigour of Jonson's prose," upon occasion of a very beautiful passage, which he does not perceive to be an imitation of Sydney's manner.
94. It only cost the masquers about £ 300 a man for that on Lord Haddington's marriage.
114. Dedication of a Masque to P. Henry.
151. Bel-Anna, James's Queen, a name in which he plainly remembered Bclphccbe.
Gilford says it is evident that Jonson had made some progress in a work intended to celebrate the ladies of Great Britain.
164. Allusions to Morte d'Arthur.
165. And to Meliadus, which Gilford, by his note, seems not to understand.
265. In the Golden Age Restored he calls up Gower and Lidgate with Chaucer1 and Spenser.
269. The first folio which Ben Jonson superintended himself has " come down to us one of the correctest works that ever issued from the English press."
274. Excellent personifications in the Masque of Christinas.
298. Dr. Aikin has called Ben Jonson "this once celebrated author!" and speaks of the prevalent coarseness of tedious effusions!
305. "The tail of a Kentish man." Thus this was still a current jest.
311. G. Chalmers' glorious confounding of Titan with Tithonus.
315. His Comus.
320. GilTord thinks Swift took a hint hence, and not from Philostratus. But Swift it likely to have read Philostratus.
322. The first Masque in which Charles bore a part.
334. Ben Jonson wishes to obtain some knowledge of Welsh.
335. Velhy, "an interjection of surprise, Heyday! So!" &c. Thus in Gifford's note. Vcdho me Dios is the Portuguese exclamation.
348. Praise of the Welsh. 366. Heber has an autograph MS. of the Masque of the Metamorphosed Gipsie.
P. 31. Antimasques.
"Neither do I think them A worthy part of presentation, Being things so heterogene to all device, Mere by-works, and at best outlandish nothings." • 43. "Bright day's eyes," and " the lips of
1 The reader should sot? how Hawes speaks of " moral Gower," and Chaucer, and " Master Lydgate, the monk of Bury," in The Ftutime of' Pleamre, Capitulo xiv. —J. AV. W.
cows" This odd inversion is in some very sweet verses.
144. The description of the two loves, Eros and Anteros, is that they were both armed and winged; with bows and quivers, cassocks, breeches, buskins, gloves, and perukes alike.—Love's Welcome at Bolsover.
151. In the dedication to his Epigrams he calls them the ripest of his studies.
154. To my bookseller. He requests that his book may
"thus much favour have To lie upon thy stall till it be sought: Not offered, as it made suit to be bought, Nor have my title-leaf on posts or walls, Or in cleft sticks advanced to make calls, For termers, or some clerklike serving man Who scarce can spell the hard names; whose knight less can."
169. On Sir John Roe. His own anticipation of death. A fine manly strain. 170.
186. Repentance for some ill deserved eulogy.
189. To Playwright: "Playwright, convict of public wrongs to men,
Takes private beatings, and begins again. Two kinds of valour he doth shew at once, Active in's brain, and passive in his bones."
212. His invitation to supper.
240. He did not understand French: this appears by his verses to Silvester.
259. His opinion of the military and legal professions.
282. Complained of as a dangerous person.
288. His prayer.
298. "The gladdest light dark man can think upon."
355. To Brome:
"those comic laws Which I, your master, first did teach the
365. Admission that he has overpraised some persons.
382. Ode to himself:
"What though the greedy fry
Of worded balladry
418-19. What the fire destroyed.
442. To the Painter. His own person described.
446. Wager upon his weight.
448. Gilford does not see that this piece relates to the former.
452. To the Lord Keeper Williams.
459. Charles sent him X 100 in his sickness, 1G29.
P. 4. Ben Josson and the Earl of Newcastle. 6. Lord Falkland.
78. GifTord's praise of his Pindarics. But N. B. that word was not prefixed to it by Jonson. 9.
17. It appears by this note that the edition is not so complete as Gilford might and ought to have made it.
27. An Epistle Mendicant.
35. In this Epithalainion he seems to have had Spenser in mind.
37. Porting for carrying.1
43. Laureate's petition to King Charles.
47. Sir Ken. Digby—a sad conceit.
95. A divided rhyme:
"when or Diana's grove, or altar, with the bor-Dring circles of swift waters," &c.
161. Envious criticism in his age, and success of worthless works. 162.
169-70. His own memory.
172. A vicious tinsel style in vogue. 173.
174. "Dabbling in verse had helped to advance men both in the law and gospel; but poetry in this latter age hath proved but a mean mistress to such as have wholly addicted themselves to her, or given their names up to her family."
176. His opinion of precocious talents.
1 Milton uses "ported spears," ParaduM Inst, book iv. p. 980; and Fuller in his Worthies, speaks of Shropshire coals as u easily ported by boat into other shires." Shropshire, p. 1, folio.-J. W.W.
177. Rough ami smooth poets, the scabrous and silky style. 1*0. Of his own style.
183. Lord Bacoo. 184-5.
184. Prose writers, Bishop Gardiner called admirable as such—"nowthingsdaily fall, wits grown downward, and eloquence grows backward; so that he (Bacon) may be named and stand as the mark and acuij of our language."
"If there was any fault in his language," says Dryden, " it was that he weaved it too closely and laboriously, in his comedies especially."—Essay on Dramatic Poesy, p. lxxv. See there for Dryden's opinion of Ben Jonson.
See Censura Literaria, vol. 1, p. 94.
Monthly Review, vol. 15, p. 198, Month. Cat. for Aug. 1756, Whalley's Ben Jonson, "To say that we look uj>on this as the best edition of Ben Jonson's works, will be saying enough for an article of this kind."
One great absurdity the dramatists of this school proceed upon as a postulate, that as the same passions exist in all times and places, the same situations are possible in all.
P. 395. A Vebt beautiful sonnet.
There is the same set of characters in all his dramas; he always represents intricate situations, contending duties, and heroic virtue.
No Ca?saverian poet could have presented better examples or loftier morality to an imperial audience.
P. 340-1. Injury done to the drama when the music is made the principal part, and the poetry must subserve it.
341. His censure of bravura*.
374. His office left him no leisure for a prose work upon his own art, which he
wished to compose, and in which the imperial commands frequently interrupted him.
He had plainly no sinecure as Poeta Cesoreo!
Drummond says, " This much I will say, and perchance not without reason dare say, if the heavens prolong his days to end his day, he hath done more in one day than Tasso did all his life, and Bartas in his two weeks, though both the one and other be most praiseworthy." — Extracts from the Hawthorden MSS. p. 28.
Ibid. p. 31. Drummond's notes for an elegy upon him. Here it appears that the supplement to the Arcadia is by him.
"Factions breaking loose Like waters, for a time by art restrain'd, Their bounds once pass'd, which do all bounds disdain."
Alexandraian Tragedy, p. 1:28.
Congreve (Dedication to his Plays) says. "I have frequently heard him own with pleasure, that if he had any talent for English prose, it was owing to his having often read the writings of the great Archbishop Tillotson."
An atrocious assertion in some Remarks on Johnson's Life of Milton, extracted from the Memoir of T.Hollis, that Dryden "was reprehensible even to infamy for his own vices, and the licentious encouragement he gave in his writings to those of others."— Monthly Review, vol. 62, p. 483.
Essay of Dramatic Poesy.
Crites says in this Essay, "it concerned the peace and quiet of all honest people, that ill poets should be as well silenced as seditious preachers, xxxi.
P. xxxii-i. Contemporaries whom he censures.
xlix. Cleveland. He seems greatly to 'have disliked him.
liii. "If the question had been stated who had writ best, the French or English, forty years ago, I should have adjudged the honour to our own nation; but since that time we have been so long together bad Englishmen, that we had no leisure to be good poets."
This is said with relation to the drama.
lix. "A poet in the description of a beautiful garden, or a meadow, will please our imagination more than the place itself can please our sight."
lxvi. "As we, who are a more sullen people, come to be diverted at our plays, so they (the French), who are of an airy and gay temper, come hither to make themselves more serious. And this I conceive to be one reason why comedies are more pleasing to us and tragedies to them."
lxxi. Attempt to show that rhymed plays are an English fashion.
lxxvi-vii. His definition of humour.
lxxx. Effect of the Rebellion on poetry, and of the Restoration.
lxxxix. Well said and shown that Shakespeare, &c. if born now would not equal themselves.
xci. Blank verse is acknowledged to be too low for a poem, nay more, for a paper of verses; but if too low for an ordinary sonnet, how much more for tragedy!
26. "The wootn f his customers." 1
32. "A raw miching boy."*
43. "As invincibly ignorant as a townsop judging a new play."
44. "He stands in ambush, like a Jesuit behind a Quaker, to see how his design will take."
48. "With a wannion1 to you."
1 This, I suspect, is a slang term, i. e. his will yous. his known customers; to wit. tu wiuen.
J. w. w.
'Todd in Johnson says that michtr is used in the Western Counties for a truant boy. The words of Hamlet naturally occur, " Marry this is miching malicho; it means mischief." Act hi. sc. 2.—J. W. W.
3 To this day this word used by Latimer, Fox, Shakspeare, Ben Jonson, &c. Sic. remains unexplained. See Richardson and Narks in
60. "How my heart quops* now, as they
83. Epilogue. "To make regalios out of common meat."
Dedication to the Rival Ladies.
Desires an academy to fix the language. Blank verse, leading to foolish inversions.
Waller, Deuham, Davenant praised for rhyme.
Prologue on Prologues.
115. "Cowards have courage when they see not death, And feeble hares that sculk in forms all day, Yet fight their feeble quarrels by the moonlight."
This is a false application: those quarreL are not feeble to them.
151. "I'm too unlucky to converse with men,
I'll pack together all my mischiefs up, Gather with care each little remnant of'em, That none of 'em be left behind; thus loaded,
Fly to some desert, and there let them loose, Where they may never prey upon mankind."
187. "'Tis the greatest bliss For man to grant himself all he dares wish; For he that to himself, himself denies, Proves meanly wretched, to be counted wise."
197. "Why should we in your mercies
still believe, When you can never pity though we grieve! For you have bound yourselves by harsh
And those, not you, arc now the deities."
Dedication to Indian Emperors.
"The favour which heroic plays have lately found upon our theatres, huve been
v. It is needless to add another guess amongst many.-J. W. W.
* "And lord so that his herte 'gan to quappe Hearing her come, and shorte for to sike." Chaucer, Troilut and Creteide, iii. ad init.
J. W. W.